Hockey: CW weekly roundup

No. 2 Alberta @ No. 9 Manitoba
Clinching first place will have to wait at least another week for the Golden Bears, as they split their weekend series in Winnipeg against the Bisons. Alberta now sits 11 points ahead of second place Manitoba, who could still technically secure top spot if the Bears drop their remaining six contests and the Herd win their remaining six contests.

Friday night, Alberta needed a big comeback to earn the victory, as they scored three unanswered third period goals including the game winner from Eric Hunter with only 39 seconds remaining to secure the 4-3 win. Hunter along with his linemates Jesse Gimblett and rookie Sean Ringrose were the catalysts for the Bears, as both Hunter and Gimblett had a goal and an assist, while Ringrose added two assists in the winning effort.

In the second game of the two game set, Manitoba this time wouldn't cough up an early two goal lead, as they came out on the winning side of another 4-3 decision. Both Ian Duval and Calin Wild had one goal, two assist efforts to lead the Bisons to their second win of the season over Alberta. With the win, the Herd handed the Bears only their second regulation loss of the season. The Bears other regulation loss of the season also came against Manitoba back on October 30 in a 3-2 decision. Chad Klassen was a man on a mission Saturday night, netting his second hat-trick of the season against the Bisons, but Klassen didn't get any scoring from his supporting cast en route to the series split.

Alberta will be looking to clinch top spot in the conference next weekend as they host Lethbridge, while Manitoba heads to Regina.

The Winnipeg Free Press also had a great feature on Bears captain Tyler Metcalfe, a Manitoba native.

Calgary @ Regina
Without question, the most surprising result of the weekend came in Regina where the Cougars played host to the Calgary Dinos. It was the Queen City crew who came out with the better effort in the Saskatchewan capital, as they handed the Dinos a pair of losses. Those losses coupled with a Saskatchewan sweep of UBC pushed the Dinos into fourth place in the conference, and Regina into sixth ahead of the T-Birds.

It was a game full of power play potency on Friday night as the two teams combined for five PP markers. Regina was 2-for-7 on the man advantage, while the Dinos went 3-for-7. It was a tight affair, as the two played 65 minutes without a winner, with a 3-3 deadlock needing a shootout to decide a winner. The skills competition went four rounds, as both teams scored on all three of their first shootout attempts, before Carter Smith scored the decisive goal in the fourth round to give Regina a 4-3 win.

Saturday night the Cougars came out looking to pick up only their second series sweep of the season, and they did just that, taking a 3-0 lead into the final frame. In the final 20 minutes the Dinos scored a pair of goals to get on the board, but the Cougars added one of their own to hold onto a 4-2 win. Ryan Sawka had a pair of markers for Regina in the win, as the Cougars all but ended any hopes the Dinos had at hosting a home playoff series.

The Cougars as mentioned above host the Bisons next weekend, while Calgary has the week off before heading to Saskatoon in two weeks time for a tough series against the Huskies.

Saskatchewan @ UBC
Coming off a pair of tough overtime losses last weekend at home against Alberta, the Saskatchewan Huskies bounced back on the road with a sweep of the UBC T-Birds in a rare set of games in Burnaby, B.C. with the T-Birds being temporarily evicted from their home as the Vancouver Olympics draw near.

It was a bust night Friday for UBC netminder Jordan White who faced 40 shots, stopping 37 of the pucks directed his way. At the other end, Jeff Harvey only had to make 15 saves in a winning effort, as his Huskies came away with a 3-2 win.

Saturday night good things came in twos for the Huskies, as they scored a pair of goals in all three periods, with Steven DaSilva and Brennan Bosch both scoring two goals each, as the Huskies doubled up the T-Birds 6-3 for the series sweep. David Reekie got the win in net for the Sled Dogs, making 29 saves for his fifth win of the season.

With the pair of wins, the Huskies crept closer to Manitoba in the CW standings after the Bisons picked up a split with Alberta. Saskatchewan now sits only a single point behind Manitoba for second place, as their Feb. 19-20 series in Saskatoon could be the determining factor in who hosts an opening round playoff series.

Both the Huskies and T-Birds are idle next week in what will be a light CW schedule with only four teams in action Feb. 5-6.
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  1. Once again the second half of the CW MHOC season is full of very tight competitive games!
    Every year the second half of the schedule is unpredictable and unreal!!
    Too bad the League pulled the plug on two teams who should/ could be in the playoffs?
    Unfortunately UBC is done with 4 weeks of schedule left, Regina is down to life support and Lethbridge iswas going to give Calgary and Saskatchewan a run. BUT if there are no upsets in the next week Leth and Regina could be toast??
    Meaningless games in February are dangerous and potential program killers!! Anyone care? Apparently not E. Daum or the CW Athletic Directors

  2. E. wrote about the post-season being cut from 6 teams to 4 back last summer.

    One take: If you don't want to play meaningless games in Feb., win more in October, Nov., Dec. and January -- and recruit harder the rest of the time.

    Canada West men's hockey is in the running for the toughest conference in any CIS sport to make playoffs.

    You make a good point about hosting a playoff game (or having home advantage for a best-of-3) is a good building block. I recall when 4-of-7 teams made the playoffs in OUA East basketball. There was a real sense of accomplishment when the Queen's men made it in 2000 and upset first-place Ryerson. Nowadays, they'd get a home quarter-final vs. vs. the fifth-place team, and maybe that wouldhelp their program.

    Honestly, I have no issue with a four-team post-season. It might be a bad example since Alta. has traditionally been so good in Canada West, but has a fifth- or sixth-place team ever won the conference, or made the final?

    OUA football had a sixth-place team win the Yates Cup a couple yrs ago, so it can happen.

  3. I could go either way on the 4 vs 6 team format. In a 6 team format #1 and #2 get byes, which is a big benefit. However, there are only 7 teams in the league.

    The odd thing this year is that 4 teams separated from the pack early. There is normally a good 5-way race for 3rd and 4th places.

  4. Again, I don't really need to get into this because I already have as Sager pointed out, but I will. The reality of the situation is this: it was either 1) keep the regular season at 28 games and go to a four team playoff format or 2) cut the regualar season down and keep a six team playoff - not one school wanted to take option 2, so I guess that puts that to rest. I'm not sure how my support for a 28 game regular season turns into me not caring about meaningless games come February considering its a topic of discussion every week in my conversations with Bears head coach Eric Thurston - strength of conference and playoff formatting matters to every school. This wouldn't be an issue if this was still an 8 team league - it would be top six, with top two earning a bye. It's the reality of a seven team league. Hollywood is also correct - this year has been rare with respect to the top four flying out in front of the bottom tier.

  5. looking from the bottom up!2/02/2010 11:48 am

    E Daum
    You should talk to a couple coaches in the 5 thru 7 spots rather than just Professor Thurston and see if your stance gains a little perspective. "Meaningless" has a completely diferent definition for them!!

    And bye the way MHOC will just follow what WHOC does it Canada west anyways? Am I allowed to say that?

  6. Again, the decision to go to a four team playoff format was unanimously adopted.

  7. @11:48: You lost the room with that crack about just following what women's hockey does. You clearly don't have any valid point, other than venting your spleen.

  8. lokking from the bottom up2/02/2010 8:03 pm

    Canada West voted in favor of 4 teams for MHOC playoffs to bring it in line with the WHOC format. Sorry to confuse the room.
    Evan,regarding the choices they (CW AD's) had regarding this decision.....rumor has it they will vote this June to bring the MHOC schedule down to 24 games. Unless they add another team.
    Mount Royal Sait have heard that UBC Okanagan is very interested in adding Mens and Womens hockey to their slate of teams if they get into CW. University hockey in Keylona might be interesting
    Check it out